Houston Middle School Counseling
Our first core value clearly illustrates the expectation that students attend The Fay School to prepare for and attend Houston’s finest middle schools. Wherever our graduates enroll, they will find themselves notably able to handle the work and they distinguish themselves as campus leaders. However, getting to middle school is a big job and is a longitudinal process with several steps, and we partner with our families on every step of this journey.
- A multi-year education process beginning in Second Grade and culminating in direct support and counseling in Fourth and Fifth Grade.
- Knowledgeable assessment of a student’s competitive position in relation to schools.
- Assistance and guidance in selecting potential schools and support through the application process.
- Individual attention and availability – especially after the choice and application process has begun.
- Advocacy and information through direct contact with admissions officers when appropriate and useful.
In the spring semester, we invite all families for a general session about the move from Lower Elementary (K – 2) to Upper Elementary (3 – 5). During this session, we discuss the following topics:
- How the Third through Fifth Grade day is different than Second Grade
- Standardized testing begins in Third Grade—why do we do this, how do we use the data, and how do these scores impact the Middle School application process?
- What is a Stanine?
- What families can expect in terms of Middle School counseling support for the next 3 years.
Prior to the students’ first standardized exam (CTP-4), we will meet with all families in more detail regarding this assessment.
- What does the test measure?
- Can students prepare for it?
- What does the scoring look like and what does it mean?
- Who sees these scores and how do they use them?
At this time, we introduce families to the formal process they will begin to navigate in the fall next year. We will present and discuss:
- A detailed 18 month outline of the formal counseling and support process
- The essential questions to ask as families visit and interview schools
- What constitutes the student profile and what will schools see
A group meeting will be held in the fall to present the Middle School Counseling Handbook, review the timeline, share important dates and events, and begin to discuss application strategies. Topics include:
- Interview questions you might be asked
- Interview questions your family should ask
- Factors to consider in selecting a middle school
- Developing a list of schools to apply to and any specific strategies
An individual meeting is held with each family. During this time, we will review the student profile to date and discuss formal applications. Much of this work will focus upon developing a list comprised of three different categories of schools. For most families, a productive application strategy is to choose between four and six schools to which to apply. In this group, there should be one or two “reach” schools, two or three “match” schools, and one to two “safety” schools.
Fall Fifth Grade is indeed a busy time. Fifth Grade families will receive a monthly email providing reminders, suggestions, and strategies to complete the process and make sure the school and family are working in concert.
- We will review the student’s profile once again, this time taking into account any significant changes. We will then make any additions and/or deletions to the list of schools and work to classify each school in one of three distinct areas: safety, match, or reach.
- Applications should be completed during this time
- Mock interviews with the Director of Admissions will be scheduled in early October to prepare students for their individual visitations to schools.
This is the home stretch! Students will sit for two standardized tests to complete their profile with applicant schools.
- The Fay School is a closed testing site for our students to take the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT). A practice examination will be administered in the days leading up to the OLSAT.
- The Fay School is a closed testing site for our students to take the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE).
Our formal 4 year counseling program focuses upon supporting families and helping our students achieve success. The result is an outstanding record of families attending the best schools the city of Houston has to offer. The vast majority of graduates attend the following schools: Annunciation Orthodox School, The Awty International School, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, The Emery/Weiner School, The Kinkaid School, Presbyterian School, River Oaks Baptist School, St. Francis Episcopal Day School, and St. John’s School.